This is not something that I thought I would ever share publicly with people, so any judgement or hatred can be checked at the door. This will probably be one of the most personal posts for me.
While I have talked about a great many private things in this blog, this one is different. This is something that I have talked about with no more than maybe 3 people.
We all grieve differently.
There are many different ways to grieve. Some are healthy and some are not. No two people walk the same journey of grief.
I can tell you that in the beginning, I was not grieving at all. I was a shell. I wore the masks, like I have previously mentioned, as if they were a second skin every single minute of every day. I was not dealing with losing someone so dear to me. I was spiraling into one of those “not healthy” was of handling loss.
*Last warning that this post is extremely personal. All bad vibes/negativity can bite me.*
Shortly after the one year anniversary of losing Marriah, I moved out of the house I was renting with a roommate and into an apartment. This apartment was the first time that I was living completely on my own. Just me, the dog, and my ball python.
I came to the realization before this move that I really didn’t have a whole lot of self control with alcohol.
I am by no means an alcoholic and I really didn’t (and still don’t) drink all that often. I would lose control when I’d had a bad day and then go drink a bottle of Marriah’s favorite wine by myself. Or hear a nope song on the way home from work, curl up in bed for the night, and have spiced rum straight from the bottle for dinner.
Again…I’m not an alcoholic. I don’t need alcohol to be able to function.
But I can tell you this…I understand how one could get to that point. I understand how losing control only a handful of times can cause one to crave the bliss that comes with overindulging in alcohol.
Now let’s be clear, I’m not talking about going out with friends to celebrate a birthday and “celebrating” a little too hard. I’m not talking about a house party with my family and getting caught up in the “fun” a little too much.
I’m talking about drinking rum for your dinner while you cry in bed because you heard “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band on the radio while you were headed home from what had been a good day at work.
I’m talking about knowing an important date is the next day so I drinking enough wine to “help” me be able to fall asleep and get some sound sleep.
I’m talking about waking up on those bad days (usually after a nightmare) and wanting to have enough Irish coffee to where you have a viable excuse not to leave the house that day.
I got to the point where I realized that these instances were happening more and more frequently and that these instances were only happening when I was home alone.
I realized that grief had changed the way I viewed alcohol.
I was using it as a way of avoiding grief.
I was using it as a way of avoiding my emotions.
I was using it as a way of avoiding the fact that Marriah was gone.
Once I realized what I was doing, I quit keeping anything harder than beer in my house. If I want to try a new rum or whiskey, I buy it and take it out to my parents house so that I don’t have the opportunity to drink by myself.
And I very, very rarely want to drink by myself these days. But on the rare occasion that I do, I make sure that someone knows (usually my bestie), so that I have someone keeping me in check.
I know I said that we all grieve differently, but the hurt is there.
While I do not EVER want to forget Marriah or my time/memories with her, sometimes I want to forget that she’s gone.
I want to forget the hole in my chest that constantly aches knowing that she’s gone.
While it was “manageable” most days….I was using alcohol as an escape on the bad days. It was not healthy and it was not helping me grieve.
It took me some time to realize that and it was a HARD pill to swallow. We always say: “That’ll never be me”…but that is an utter load of bull crap.
You can tell yourself whatever you want to make yourself feel better, but you never think it’s going to be you until you are in the thick of it.
I’ve said from the very first day we lost her that I never thought this would happen to our family. I would see a wreck on the side of the road and not think twice except to say a prayer for the first responders and those involved, now all I think about is her.
It DID happen to us. It DID happen to Marriah.
Alcohol wasn’t (and still isn’t) the answer to the million questions I have, but I used to think that it was worth a shot. I now know that alcohol didn’t have the answers I crave.
I’m still finding healthy ways to continue in my journey of grief. This blog is one of them. Talking about her is another. It’s hard. The hardest thing that I have had to do to date.
February marked 3 years since we lost her and March held what should have been her 27th birthday. The last 6 weeks have SUCKED with some major exceptions. But I’m grieving in a healthy way…and that’s a win.
Love you always. Miss you forever, Sunflower. 🌻
Credits: “Six Feet in the Ground”
Artist/Written: Sam Riggs (2012)